Unformatted text preview: there that night,' said Poirot quietly.
'How do you know, mister?' 'By this.' Poirot took something from his pocket and held it out.
It was the goose quill we had found in the summer house.
At the sight of it the man's face changed. He half held out his hand.
'Snow,' said Poirot thoughtfully. 'No, my friend, it is empty. It lay where you dropped it in the summer
house that night.' Charles Kent looked at him uncertainly.
'You seem to know a hell of a lot about everything, you little foreign cock duck. Perhaps you remember
this: the papers say that the old gent was croaked between a quarter to ten and ten o'clock?' 'That is so,'
'Yes, but is it really so? That's what I'm getting at.' 'This gentleman will tell you,' said Poirot.
He indicated Inspector Raglan. The latter hesitated, glanced at Superintendent Hayes, then at Poirot, and
finally, as though receiving sanction, he said: 'That's right. Between a quarter to ten and ten o'clock.'
'Then you've nothing to keep me here for,' said Kent. 'I was away from Fernly Park by twenty-five
minutes past nine. You can ask at the Dog and Whistle. That's a saloon about a mile out of Fernly on the
road to Cranchester. I kicked up a bit of a row there, I remember. As near as nothing to quarter to ten, it
was. How about that?' Inspector Raglan wrote down something in his notebook.
'Well?' demanded Kent.
'Inquiries will be made,' said the inspector. 'If you've spoken the truth, you won't have anything to complain about. What were you doing at Fernly Park anyway?' 'Went there to meet someone.' 'Who?'
'That's none of your business.' 'You'd better keep a civil tongue in your head, my man,' the
superintendent warned him.
'To hell with a civil tongue. I went there on my own business, and that's all there is to it. If I was clear
away before the murder was done, that's all that concerns the cops.' 'Your name, it is Charles Kent,' said
Poirot. 'Where were you born?' The man stared at him, then he grinned.
'I'm a full-blown Britisher all right,' he said.
'Yes,' said Poirot meditatively. 'I think you are. I fancy you were born in Kent.' The man stared.
'Why's that? Because of my name? What's that to do with it? Is a man whose name is Kent bound to be
born in that particular county?' 'Under certain circumstances, I can imagine he might be,' said Poirot very
deliberately. 'Under certain circumstances, you comprehend.' There was so much meaning in his voice as
to surprise the two police officers. As for Charles Kent, he flushed a brick red, and for a moment I
thought he was going to spring at Poirot. He thought better of it, however, and turned away with a kind
Poirot nodded as though satisfied, and made his way out through the door. He was joined presently by
the two officers.
'We'll verify that statement,' remarked Raglan. 'I don't think he's lying, though. But he's got to come clean
with a statement as to what he was doing at Fernly. It looks to me as though we'd got our blackmailer all
right. On the other hand, granted his story's correct, he couldn't have had anything t...
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